Polls

TOPICS: Campaign fund-raising controversy, control of Congress, political parties

Interviews with 740 likely voters, conducted October 26-29, 1996

Most likely voters are taking seriously the allegations that some campaign contributions to the Democratic Party may have been illegal. 27% think the allegations about the Democrats' fund-raising are very serious; 30% say the allegations are somewhat serious. A majority of likely voters have been closely following this issue.

Allegations About Democratic Fund-Raising
Serious
Not serious
57%
34%
Closely Following Fund-Raising Controversy?
YES
No
53%
45%
Likely Voters Sampling error: +/-4% pts

When likely voters in today's CNN/USA Today/Gallup tracking poll were asked whether they will vote for the Republican or Democratic candidate for Congress in their district, the two parties are in a statistical dead heat. The Democrats have a 3-point lead that is well within the poll's margin of sampling error. When likely voters are asked whether the country would be better off if the Democrats or the Republicans controlled Congress, the two parties are also in a statistical tie, with the Democrats holding a 3-point lead. 42% of all likely voters think the country would be better off if the Democrats control Congress; 39% would rather have the GOP in power on Capitol Hill. (Note that yesterday's tracking poll results show that the two parties are precisely tied -- with 47% apiece -- when likely voters are asked which party they would like to see control Congress if Bill Clinton is re-elected.)

Country Better Off If Congress Controlled By...
Democrats
Republicans
42%
39%
Likely Voters Sampling error: +/-4% pts

Likely voters, however, appear to have a better opinion of the Democrats. 70% have a favorable view of the Democratic Party; 63% have favorable views of the GOP, and only 38% have a favorable impression of the Reform Party. That is a switch from 1994. Just after the 1994 midterm election which swept the GOP into power on Capitol Hill, only 55% thought favorably of the Democrats while 70% had a favorable view of the Republicans.

Favorable Ratings

Democrat Party
Republican Party
Now
70%
63%
1994
55%
70%
Likely Voters Sampling error: +/-4% pts

The Democratic Party now does better on most issues than the GOP. A majority of all likely voters think the Democratic Party would do a better job than the Republican Party handling welfare policy, health care policy, education, and Medicare. The Democrats also outscore the GOP on the economy. The Republicans do better on taxes and foreign affairs, and the two parties are tied on crime and the federal budget deficit. The Democrats do significantly better on each of those issues than they did in mid-November of 1994.

Which Party Would Do A Better Job On

Education
Medicare
Welfare
Economy
Crime
Deficit
Foreign Affairs
Taxes
Democrat
59%
57%
52%
48%
43%
42%
42%
41%
Republican
30%
33%
37%
39%
43%
42%
44%
45%
Likely Voters Sampling error: +/-4% pts

Note that yesterday's tracking poll had some good news for the Republicans. 55% of likely voters say that most members of the U.S. House of Representatives deserve to be re-elected. That has to be good news for the GOP, which holds a majority of the seats in the House, and for incumbents in general. At this time in 1992, only 29% of the electorate thought that most House members deserved re-election. At this time in 1994, only 43% felt that way. Yesterday's tracking poll indicates that fewer voters may be in a "throw the bums out" mood than in the past two congressional elections.

Previous Polls

  • October 26-29
  • September 18, 1996
  • August 29, 1996
  • August 25, 1996
  • August 19, 1996
  • August 16-18, 1996
  • August 11, 1996
  • July 18-21, 1996
  • May 9-12, 1996
  • April 9-10, 1996
  • March 15-17, 1996
  • February 23-25, 1996
  • January 26-29, 1996
  • January 12-15, 1996
  • January 5-7, 1996


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